Ukrainian CyberCrime Boss Leads Political Party
A Ukrainian man once known as one of the top ringleaders in Eastern Europe-based organized cyber crime is now heading up a new political party there.
Dmitry Ivanovich Golubov, a 24-year-old from Odessa, is leading the upstart "Internet Party of Ukraine," a party he helped create shortly after parliamentary elections in the country last fall. In 2005, Golubov -- a.k.a. "script" -- was arrested and jailed on charges of trading in credit and debit card credentials stolen via computer viruses and password-snatching Trojan horse programs, thefts that caused millions of dollars in losses to banks over several years.
U.S. investigators said Golubov was among the top henchmen at Carderplanet.com, an online fraud forum that once facilitated credit and debit card fraud for about 7,000 scammers around the globe. So open and brazen were the curators of this fraudster bazaar that Carderplanet.com actually ran Internet ads for its service, including this Macromedia Flash-based segment that bills Carderplanet as the source of "everything you need for business" and "individual customer support." Update: Anti-virus maker F-Secure has published a blog post that links to two other Carderplanet ads.
Told through the eyes of Greg Crabb, a U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigator who tracked Golubov's activities for several years in tandem with other U.S. law enforcement agencies, this wired.com story from Jan. 2007 details how Golubov was set free following six months in prison, after a pair of influential Ukrainian politicians convinced a judge to release him on bond.
For his part, Golubov says he's segueing into politics -- not for the money or power, but to serve others.
"I belong to a rare category of people who go into politics is not for the profit, but for the sake of ideas," Golubov wrote in a (rough Google-translated) biographical statement accompanying a picture of himself on the party's Web site. "I am not interested in money, as the purpose of life. I get pleasure when helping other people, and I am willing to devote their lives to this."
Ironically, Golubov and the Internet Party are running on a platform of rooting out public corruption and reducing bureaucracy. Other parts of its platform include the "computerization of the entire country," "free computer courses and foreign languages at the expense of the budget," "the creation of offshore zones in certain regions of Ukraine," and the organization of Ukraine as a "tax free paradise with the aim to attract money from all over the world."
Golubov's case highlights the serious challenges facing U.S. law enforcement agencies as they continue efforts to gain the cooperation of foreign governments in bringing cyber criminals to justice. While USPIS Inspector Crabb and others have expressed frustration that this guy escaped justice, holding him accountable for any future crimes if he indeed hasn't turned over a new leaf may well be impossible: Gaining a seat in the Ukrainian government would grant Golubov automatic immunity from prosecution for criminal activities under Ukrainian law.
Neither Golubov nor his political party returned messages seeking comment for this piece.
Update, March 14, 10:47 a.m. ET:Added links from F-Secure to Carderplanet.com advertisements.
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